Pics of the Day: Look Who’s Headed to Sea Again

Happy Friday afternoon. It appears that China’s aircraft carrier, the ex-Soviet Varyag is heading out to open seas once again. Still no word on when she’ll have aircraft operating off her flight deck while she’s underway.

Click through the jump for more pictures.

Via China Defense Blog



  • Pat

    What’s even the point of operating this piece of garbage if you aren’t going to work on flight ops…

    • gunslinger6

      They have to learn how to run the ship first, before they can start flight ops. Just saying you have to start at step 1 cant jump to 9 without going 1-8 first.

    • Skyepapa

      I think we can all count on the Chinese getting there in their own time. If the Brazilians can do it then the Chinese can certainly do it.

      • bob

        Uhh yeah, the ‘stupid’ Brazilians as you imply just passed Britain as the world’s 6th largest economy, and its president Dilma Roussef just this week visited MIT and Harvard in a collaboration project to share students and research between us and them, involving more than 10,000 graduate and post graduate and post-graduate students/scientists in a bid to jumpstart Brazils technology sector for the 21st century. In the past two years or so Brazil has discovered a major subterranean ocean field just off their Atlantic coast worth trillions of barrels and has partnered (despite some typical operating setbacks and a spill) with Chevron to extract it all, so combined with one of the world’s largest ethanol production bases (sugarcane-based), they are definitely set to be 100% energy viable and independent.

        China is a giant, and formidable, but they are an insulated economy and their research/tech capacity is limited because of systemic problems, not to mention they either have to buy much of their higher tier equipment, such as the Variag, or acquire new tech through cyber-espionage which they are heavily investing in at the moment.

        But despite all that, I know… you assumed Brasil is just some backwater South American country the likes of Columbia or something, albeit a little bigger. Not the case though.

        • Skyepapa

          Um, I never implied Brazilians were stupid. Maybe you’re projecting… I’m not sure. But you support my point very well all the same. The Brazilians are the sixth largest economy, and the Chinese are the second. So, like I said before, if the Brazilians can do it, I’m sure the Chinese can.

          Wild assumptions make one look silly, Bob. I’m much closer to Brazil than you might imagine.

    • SJE

      The Chinese have no experience of even sailing an aircraft carrier until recently.

    • Nadnerbus

      Take a look at how long it takes a Nimitz Class to go from completion, through testing, shakedown, then finally taking on an air wing. And that is in a country with 90 some years of carrier aviation under its belt.

      The Chinese are taking their time and figuring the whole thing out. It’s actually a bit more disconcerting this way, since it’s clear they are bent on getting it right and building on this whole experience. If they just threw her out to sea with an air wing right away, then we’d know that China wasn’t that serious, and was just into it for the symbol of power, much like Russia.

    • Jeff

      Who said they aren’t gonna work on flight ops, you fucktard?!

  • Nicky

    $5 bucks says that their will be half a dozen submarines that will be following behind it. Getting Hull photo shots and even pictures of the carrier in operations. I would not be surprise of Japan or the US sends Subs to follow the Carrier

    • Pat

      Lets hope right! Intimidation factor at its finest…

    • Jason

      I was about to say the same thing.

    • STemplar

      More likely making sonar recordings.

      • Nicky

        Hope they brought a lot of disk space for that Recording. I’ll bet ya how many sub would be tailing.

    • passingby

      it’s going to be in Chinese waters. If US or Japanese subs are found even half a mile inside territory, they will be fired at. Give me 5 bucks now.

  • Lance

    I dont know why the hype is over this floating target. The carrier is old made in the 80s and isn’t Chinese its Soviet with a new Chinese paint job. Biggest thing it lacks plane for it right now so its doesn’t have any operational capability a carrier needs planes. Overall nice picks thought.

  • Skyepapa

    The hype isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, about this carrier. The hype is more about the long game in which China uses this carrier to develop a fine albeit untested (by conflict) carrier ops capability to apply to its first generation of domestically developed and produced carriers. Those won’t be second-hand trash heaps. Granted, they probably won’t be up to our standards, but they’ll be nothing to scoff at.

    • sferrin

      China will have CATOBAR before the UK. You read it here first.

      • Skyepapa

        If the reversal from C back to B is true, I believe you.

      • STemplar

        You mean before the UK has it again.

  • John Moore

    Wonder if it’s a political show to do with the Philippin stand off going on?

    • EJ257

      India did just test launch an ICBM that can reach Beijing. Coincidence?

    • Nick T.

      I’d go 33/64 on that. Putting on a show like that would be sort of like China. But if the thing has to be pulled into port again then it’s all for nought. But if I were China, I probably wouldn’t use a carrier. Destroyer or Lander maybe, but not ONLY carrier in their inventory, especially one that hasen’t exactly been 100%. Well, not their only carrier, but a floating amusement park isn’t much good in a fight.

    • Jeff

      No, if the Chinese really wanted, they could simply deport all the Filipina maids, and the Filipino economy would collapse. My worry is that them Filipinos are not very bright, and they could overreach, thinking we’d back them up, which we won’t.

  • Larry Ice

    You don’t need planes on a ship you are using as a target. Maybe this is all about fine tuning the sensor systems that will guide their DF21 Ballistic Missiles. They might even perform a demonstration to make a point…

  • billw917

    This is their Langley, CV-1, a learning tool.

  • IronV

    Do not underestimate an enemy.

    • PolicyWonk

      How right you are. The Chinese have always planned for the long run, unlike the USA (where short-term political gains often trump smart policy). They got all the oil deals from Iraq (while the USA suffered the largest foreign policy disaster in US history, leaving a military at its lowest state of readiness since Viet Nam), while the USA simultaneously fuels their military build-up.

      • passingby

        Without knowing the details it’s hard to say whether China has got all the oil deals, and if so, bad deals or good deals. One thing is known – the US / UK have been stealing Iraqi oil (extracting without metering). Same thing happening in Libya.

        • Nadnerbus

          “the US / UK have been stealing Iraqi oil (extracting without metering).”

          I have not heard this. Do you have a source?

  • mpower6428

    thats cosmo, he’s chinese.

  • Skyyking47

    The only reason for this carrier is to ‘wave their flag’ in someones backyard. It’s just a very big target, just like our carriers, and in my mind, much like the battle ships of the 1940’s

    • TMB

      I remember in high school in the 1990s reading about how a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be a 500,000 man swimming race with almost no fire support except for a couple missile cruisers. Look where they are now. They’re working on it.

    • tiger

      Hosting a Olympics is flag waving. Building a large blue water Navy is a bit more. This is just one peice of a larger plan.

    • ZachA.

      Skyyking, it was also a very popular belief in the early cold war that with the employment of nukes that the army was obsolete and their duties should be transferred to the navy and marines. Look where we are now, thank God someone didnt axe the army back then or we would be in a very different world now.

      • guess

        Like maybe if we didn’t have a large standing Army the politicians wouldn’t get involved in so much overseas “situations”

    • Rex Wilson

      You really don’t have a clue do you?

  • 50 cents bridgade

    Yeah, a fine missile target for Chinese DF21 Anti Carrier Missile. The last I read, US Admiral is pissing their pants. Do the US have anything? I guess not. Their only proven military hardware are only used against 3rd world countries. The last time the American fought they got their nose bloodied by the Chinese in the Korean War, the Vietnamese in the Vietnam War, the Al Queda in the Iraq War, the Somalian in Somalia and the Taliban in the Afghanistan War. Even against these 3rd world countries, they are running scare back to the US. Good job Americans, you have just proven that all trillions spend can’t even beat the Taliban. Anyhow, Uncle Sam thanks you from the bottom of his heart for the yearly 45% tax rate donation. As for me, I paid 10% tax rate and is enjoying every cent of my hard earned income for my benefits. Can’t say much for those dumb US tax payer.

    • 1dollardivision

      Your short on facts and heavy on hype. Go troll your garbage somewhere else.

    • STemplar


      • Shree

        You n your stupid comments are worth.. guess what?…50 Cents. Trol

    • Shree

      You n your stupid comments are worth.. guess what?…50 Cents. Trol

    • Jeff

      Look man, the Talibans are great fighters, probably the best in the world, hands down. So losing to them is no shame. It’s time we get our troops home and better protect our own borders with Mexico.

      • passingby

        the people in that region have been great fighters. If I remember correctly, Britain had sent an expedition force of 16,000 in the 1830s. Only one came out alive.

      • Brandon

        Horrible fighters. Just great at intimidating an under-educated population that is afraid of change. You dont have to be intelligent to take advantage of our rules of engagement and good will. That idiot troll is receiving our good will somehow I am sure no matter what country he is in.

    • good lord what a blow hard.,,,,,,, i was in viet nam sonnie boy, we didnt loose it the politicans ran and hid under there bed the second some got a bloody nose….
      since you know so little history i sugest that you start reading something besides the left side of your head

      • passingby

        gosh, he writes better English than you do. There is point to separate the military and the government. They are one. You did lose. You were far better armed, equipped and supplied than the Vietcong. And you got kicked out of Vietnam despite the astronomical spending that crippled the US economy and started the run toward national bankruptcy.

        • passingby

          edit: meant to say ” There is NO point to separate the military and the govt”

          damn me.

        • TMB

          When the government tells the military to spend a billion dollars on an electronic fence on the Vietnam border that doesn’t work, but then tells its pilots they’re not allowed to fire on the ship or train full of surface to air missiles still in their packing crates, or even let their troops cross the northern border to kill the enemy troops shooting at them, do you still lump the government and military in one tidy package?

        • Buzz

          I’ll bet you are one of those under educated dolts thaat think we were defeated in 75. We left in 73. We stopped playing because congress wouldnt let us win the war. The South only folded when the DEMOCRATS in congress voted to cut all funding to S. Vietnam to support the war. The democrats started the war and then hid under the beds and lost it.

          This carrier was dry docked for so long because it had to undergo major repairs and refit. When the soviets took it to sea for 6-12 weeks it was in drydock for 6 months.

    • D Ropel

      Perhaps you should read your history a bit closer. US amphibious landings on the west coast of Korea forced the Chinese and NK forces back ACROSS the Yalu River which is the border between China and NK. McArther wanted to cross the river and destroy the remaining forces and bases in China. The US militarily defeated the NV and the Viet Cong. In fact, the Tet Offensive in 1968 was considered a last ditch effort by the PAVN and the VC to defeat the ARVN and US. This period included Hue and Khe Sanh. The result of this 7 month long battle was the destruction of the VIet Cong and a major defeat of he PAVN – over 100,000 killed compared to about 45000 total casualties for the ARVN and US.

      Al Queda is nothing any more except a bunch of misogynists – that means they hate women and girls, since you probabaly don’t understand a big word like that.

  • China can sink a US carrier buying an F-14 to Iran and painting it as one of the USN. Then, the F-14 can approach the carrier and attack by surprise. Is the same tactic used by Will Smith and the USAF in Independence Day.

  • knightone

    Slightly depressing how many view this only from a force projection POV when this new carrier capability delivers excellent training for the Chinese air force and navy in how to practice anti-carrier operations. Now they got a real ship out at sea with weapon systems to train against. Ideal for a Taiwan scenario.

    • Jeff

      Right, and they call this a “training carrier”. Maybe the day will come that it’ll be called a “target carrier”. Fingers crossed that this won’t happen anytime soon.

    • Hale

      For a Taiwan scenario, a carrier is much less important considering airbases are fairly close across the Taiwan straits. Subs, navy and missiles for making US intervention prohibitively expensive and more missiles, subs, navy along with, overwhelming air-power, and a large sophisticated amphibious landing force to defeat Taiwanese air and take the beaches quickly. China’s armed forces is well-prepared in these catagories.

      The carrier on the other hand is for conflicts farther ashore, like those potential ones in the South China sea, or those with India.

      However, at least for now, China is fine being a rising economic power. They may be modernizing quickly, as any nation with that much money and so much old equipment should, but at least they generally only deploy their forces within what they consider their own territory.

  • Dave

    Doesn’t matter. They won’t be able to breath the air in another few years. Look at all the smog!!!

  • Hickelbilly

    Here Am I.

  • TH

    Never underestimate the Chinese, they are now in learning stage of how to operate a carrier and maybe in a few years(u should know the Chinese often come in quantities) they will operates 20 carriers. With their economy they can afford it and isn’t their marine salary cost just 1/10 of USA marines? If USA operates 10 Carriers, why can’t the Chinese operates 20?

    • Jeff

      Why can’t the Chinese operates 20? Because they are not fucking stupid.

    • passingby

      I speculate that the US economy will have collapsed before China completes its 10th carrier.

    • Hale

      I don’t think they’re stupid enough to spend themselves into oblivion. They’ll probably go for around 3-5.

      Just look at their main battle tanks. They’ve built 2,500 cheaper, economical Type 96s, along with a few hundred expensive Type 99 of various variants.

      China puts it’s economy above all else, I’d higly doubt they’d make he mistake of assuming the role of ‘world police’. Policing is expensive, China knows that fact well, no point in doing it beyond it’s own borders.

  • TH

    Never underestimate the Chinese, they are now in learning stage of how to operate a carrier and maybe in a few years(u should know the Chinese often come in quantities) they will operates 20 carriers. With their economy they can afford it and isn’t their marine salary cost just 10% of USA marines? If USA operates 10 Carriers, why can’t the Chinese operates 20?

    • bwanamakubwa

      You have got it exactly right. I lived in Hong Kong for 30 years and got to understand a little about how the Chinese think. This vessel is being used for training: training not only aircraft operating personnel (they’ll be catapulting rocks off the flight deck!) but also their sub crews.
      The personnel being trained on this non-operational vessel will then crew the Chinese-made carriers which are already off the drawing boards. The sub crews will have gained important knowledge, too. Let’s not forget the Chinese boffins who are improving, all the time, the capabilities of their guided missiles. This aircraft carrier provides an excellent test-bench for them.

  • Anx

    It is a floating target. They are most likely using their carrier to test and calibrate their new anti-carrier missile system…

    • Jeff

      Kind of expensive for a target. Still, it’d be good for finding weak points of protecting a carrier.

  • SnowGator

    The British, with their ships of the line, scoffed at the upstart American navy when USS Constitution and other frigates were launched. Change happens. Think what the Chinese can field in 10 or 20 years with their manufacturing prowess, their 3:1 advantage in engineering graduates, and their ability to accomplish great feats on shoestring budgets.

  • bart

    America, for all it’s superior military might, does not have the political leadership to be the worlds foremost power.

    • Jeff

      What military might? We ought to hang our collective head in shame for losing to the fucking Taliban!

  • Richard

    its going out to play with the ruskies

  • cs4

    The US manages to make more enemies than friends and with a friend like the US, who needs enemies?

  • there certainly is a lot of smoke being blown by folks that do not know they’re ass from they’re elbow!

  • Earl Kearnes

    Sure is smoggy there. The ship is not very impressive. YAWN!!!

  • tom

    AAAAHHHH SOOOOO the china machine is trying, they are still very far behind American firepower that’s for sure but it’s always good to keep an eye out on them.What will be the game chnger will be our new rail guns and catapults to launch our jets.Our rail guns will be able to fire much much futher then anything before and the catapults are about to be put into the newest carriers we are building.It will take china a long time to catch up.But like many say never underestimate the enemy oh so true.

    • tiger

      I hate to rain on the flag waving, who is going to pay for all this?

    • Jeff

      Great! Let’s sail our fancy new carriers right into the Taliban stronghold of Helmand province and win the Afghan war once and for all, you fucktard!

  • spamspam

    Yeah, a little Saber rattling. Tensions in the South China sea recently and with joint military exercises with the US and the Philippines, China just wants to show that it has a big toy.

  • Robert Owen

    China needs time to build up a carrier force, and the ability to successfully operate it.
    Carrier ops are no easy feat.
    That’s why the PRC bought and refurbished the Varyag. Likely, they recognize, as the Soviets once did,, the real threat of US Navy Carrier Action Groups (CAGs).
    The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), yup, that mouthful is apparently the proper translation, probably wants a carrier force of their own.
    I’m sure the Varyag has already been reverse engineered, and the PLAN will probably get sister ships in time.

  • Jack Spectre

    We can’t underestimate the Chinese, but really, they are decades away from a large, competent carrier fleet. In those decades we’ll still be outspending them 7 to 1. Not to mention, their economy is cooling off and is dependent on Western trade.

    The Chinese may develop effective anti-carrier defense that can keep US fleets away from their shores, but I don’t think anyone is afraid of a Chinese carrier fleet in the foreseeable future.

  • Ron

    I cannot wait until some island nation sinks China’s aircraft carrie rwith a silk worm missile China sold them 30 years ago.

  • Dennis

    This is just like when the US had the old Langley. We learn’t how to operate a carrier with the Langley so when Lexington and Saratoga came along we new about basic operations already.
    In China’s case there is allot to learn but they will learn it fast. They have been sending personnel to train on Brazil’ s Carrier where they will learn about operating the carrier itself. Lots to do. Got to learn about flight deck wind speeds and keeping the ship trimmed and balanced for easier landings plus airtrafic control ect. Allot of stuff.
    Plus Brazil’s carrier has catapults. So they will learn about the steam catapult but I’m sure they will want to skip right to the meglev catapult that will be installed on the Ford. They have the first operational meglev train in Shanghai.
    Plus they steal.

  • Dennis

    Was stationed on a carrier in the US Navy. Please if you dont know what your talking about refrain from comments.
    This Chinese carrier is not a fleet carrier but a training one. I’m sure the first generation carrier for China will be quite diffrent possibly with catapults.
    There is no way to take an Iran f-14 and sneak up on a US carrier like Will Smith in Independence day. In every plane you have what is call a IFF signature that is picked up by a radar on the ship. Anything with out this signature that does not answer protocal is dead meat.
    It’s good to have carriers. Aircraft range is over 700 miles more than antiship missles, if the fleets where to meet in open sea like WW1. plus being able to hit airbases in land to destroy enemy strike ability and sink their ships in port before sailing.

  • Dordrecht1618

    Was wondering what happened to the Friday Pic series? Surely there is more picworthy things that would last beyond April 2012!